L’AQUILA, Italy (AP) — Making a pilgrimage in an Italian mountain city, Pope Francis on Sunday hailed the humility of a Thirteenth-century pontiff who resigned to reside a hermit’s life, and praised him for utilizing his temporary papacy to focus on the worth of mercy and forgiveness.
Francis made a four-hour go to to L’Aquila within the central Apennine mountains, which was struck by an earthquake in 2009, killing 305 folks and destroying a lot of the city. It’s nonetheless being rebuilt.
The pontiff got here to fortify a late summer season custom begun by Pope Celestine V 728 years in the past to encourage the devoted to hunt forgiveness for sins.
L’Aquila’s Collemaggio Basilica incorporates the stays of Celestine, who resigned in 1294 after solely a number of months within the papacy. As pontiff, Celestine initiated the August follow during which devoted may move by means of the basilica’s Holy Door. After assembly sure non secular necessities, they will obtain a plenary indulgence, which removes punishment for sin.
Aides introduced Francis in a wheelchair to the basilica’s austere, brown wood door. After Francis, who has a painful knee downside, was helped to face, he used a sturdy olive tree department to rap 3 times on the door, which then was opened. With a ramp put in place, Francis limped into the basilica, then prayed quietly earlier than the mausoleum containing the stays of Celestine, whose face is roofed with a silver masks.
Celestine was ridiculed by Dante within the “Divine Comedy” for cowardice in abdicating his papal function.
“The standard seem to the eyes of males as weak and losers, however in actuality they’re the true winners as a result of they’re the one ones who belief fully within the Lord and know His will,” Francis stated.
“Humility would not consist in devaluing oneself however somewhat in that wholesome realism that makes us acknowledge our potential and in addition our distress,” Francis stated. He hailed the “brave’ Celestine V as a result of “no logic of energy was in a position to imprison or handle him.”
Celestine reminded all that mercy and forgiveness assist folks to move from “anguish and guilt to freedom and pleasure,” Francis stated.
Whereas the helicopter that flew him from the Vatican to L’Aquila earlier Sunday morning saved circling above the city, with the pilot looking for a break in thick fog so it may land, Francis stated he was impressed to ponder the worth of mercy.
“Lastly, there was a little bit opening (within the fog), and he zoomed by means of,” Francis stated, encouraging folks, when their lives are clouded by troubles, to equally reap the benefits of an ”opening” when the potential for mercy presents itself .
Earlier than Francis, the final pope to go to L’Aquila was his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who got here to consolation quake survivors in 2009 and paid tribute to Celestine. Benedict would resign in 2013, the primary pontiff in almost 600 years to take action. He now lives in a monastery on Vatican grounds.
Francis, who’s 85, has known as resignation an appropriate possibility for pontiffs who really feel they will not adequately lead the world’s greater than 1.3 billion Catholics.
He greeted townspeople exterior the city’s Duomo, or cathedral, which continues to be being repaired from quake injury, and visited with family members of a number of the victims.
Francis famous that inmates from space prisons have been amongst well-wishers exterior the cathedral. “In you, I salute an indication of hope, as a result of in prisons there are such a lot of, too many victims,” Francis stated.
D’Emilio reported from Rome.